Cathy asked:

What is the final word on raising your palms up during the Our Father prayer at mass like the priest does, and who decides what we do during that time?

Jimmy Akin replied:

"The ultimate authority in regulating the liturgy is the pope. But he typically has the day to day business run by a congregation in Rome known as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Under them is the national conference of bishops in a given territory. Here it's the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Then the local bishop has authority for regulating the liturgy in his own diocese within certain boundaries, and then within even more boundaries the local parish pastor has responsibility for regulating liturgy in the parish.

... The liturgy does not appear to call for the laity to raise their hands during the Our Father, and in general there is a prohibition on the laity immitating the gestures appropriate to a priest. But there is a bit of a controversy in Canon Law circles about whether that applies in this case because there are certain prayers that are designated for the priest alone. They are known as presidential prayers. The thing is the Our Father is not one of those. So some have suggested that it might be possible for the laity to share the same gesture as the priest in this instance ...

In any event there seems to be some ambiguity in the law about this that hopefully will get cleared up at some point. But as of yet I'm not aware of any ruling from Rome on the subject ... The law does not direct the laity to do this. The law only directs the priest to stretch out his hands."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: November 7, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 17:42

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